South African skipper Faf du Plessis will lead a World XI team to play three Twenty20 matches in Pakistan, authorities announced yesterday, a huge coup for a cricket-mad country eager to revive the international game.
Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Najam Sethi announced the Proteas captain’s participation along with a list of illustrious names from seven testplaying countries.
“The World XI will play three Twenty20 Internationals for the Independence Cup against Pakistan in Lahore on September 12, 13 and 15,” Sethi said in Lahore.
England’s ICC World Twenty20 2010 winning captain Paul Collingwood, West Indies’ Darren Sammy, South African Hashim Amla, Bangladesh’s Tamim Iqbal and Australia’s George Bailey will also be part of the World XI.
The matches are aimed at ending Pakistan’s international isolation, triggered after militants attacked the visiting Sri Lankan team’s bus in Lahore in 2009.
Pakistan has hosted all its international matches in the neutral venue of the United Arab Emirates since.
But security has improved dramatically in recent years, giving fans hope that international cricket could finally return.
Other players for the World XI include David Miller (South Africa), Grant Elliott (New Zealand), Samuel Badree (West Indies), Ben Cutting (Australia), Morne Morkel (South Africa), Tim Paine (Australia), Thisara Perera (Sri Lanka) and Imran Tahir (South Africa).
Former Zimbabwe captain and ex-England coach Andy Flower will coach the side, which is set to arrive in Lahore on September 11.
Pakistan hope Sri Lanka will also play a Twenty20 in Lahore in October, followed by a three-match Twenty20 series against West Indies in November.